Prime Rock Resources and New Dawn Energy agreed to jointly develop some Austin Chalk property in Louisiana contributed by each company.

The 120,000 acre development area is in Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Rapides, and Vernon Parishes, primarily in the legacy Masters Creek field.

Prime Rock, an upstream portfolio company of Lime Rock Partners, and privately held New Dawn plan to work together to acquire additional acreage in the play. The exploration and production companies expect development to begin before the end of the year.

Prime Rock CEO Manny Sirgo said he was encouraged by the new partnership. "We are excited about the potential benefits of applying modern drilling and completion technology in one of the most prolific legacy Austin Chalk fields in the entire trend."

New Dawn Executive Vice President Dr. Ghasem Bayat is also optimistic of the partnership opportunities. “We believe the strategic combination of our respective acreage positions creates one of the premiere positions in the entire trend."

The Austin Chalk, a formation that extends from far South Texas into Louisiana, has been gaining more and more visibility in recent years.

In April 2018, the world’s largest independent ConocoPhillips purchased about 245,000 net acres in the limestone-rich play, and last December announced plans for exploration drilling to begin this year.

Marathon Oil Co. also had plans to drill its first exploration well in the Louisiana portion of the Austin Chalk in late 2018, where it had leased about 240,000 net acres.